Plans to convert a home into a HMO in the ward with the highest amount in the town have been submitted.
If approved, a two-storey terraced home at 41 Tonbridge Road, Maidstone, will be turned into a six-person Home in Multiple Occupancy (HMO).
Each tenant would have his or her own bedroom and shower, but they would share a lounge and kitchen.
The property currently has three bedrooms, with the required extra space needing to be achieved by creating a two-bedroom loft extension, under a flat roof, and also by converting one of the downstairs living rooms into a bedroom.
Back in May last year, there was an outcry over the number of HMOs in Fant, which at the time had 115 HMOs, with another two or three being added each month.
Councillors for the area spoke of the situation being a "nightmare" for neighbours, with residents describing a loss of community as well as very practical problems such as a dramatic increase in the demand for parking and an increase in waste bins on the street.
At the time, the borough council’s head of planning, Rob Jarman, said the borough could draft a policy that might require future HMOs to seek planning approval if HMOs already comprised more than 10% of properties in the street.
It was also suggested the council should explore a licensing system to ensure that HMOs provided a reasonable standard of living for their tenants.
Sadly, 18 months later, neither initiative has come to pass.
However, Maidstone council did say: “The council has been preparing a Design and Sustainability Development Plan Document. The draft document includes a policy (DQ7) that aims to address issues associated with HMOs, such as space standards and visual amenities.
“The draft plan has recently gone through two rounds of Regulation 18 consultation and is subject to further refinement and consultation before it can be submitted to the Secretary of State, examined and adopted.
“Once adopted, it will form part of the development plan for Maidstone and will have the same weight as the Local Plan in determining planning applications.”
At present, the only reason 41 Tonbridge Road is coming before the planning system is because it includes an extension of the property.
Fant Cllr Partick Coates (Fant and Oakwood Independents) said: “Since May last year there have been 60 new HMOs in Fant. That’s far too many
“We just can’t take any more.”
Cllr Margaret Rose (Lab) said: “Labour has always and will always use every means possible to stand against and block further planning approval of HMOs where inappropriate within the borough.
“We are particularly concerned in regard to Fant Ward.”
“We are very well aware of the problems of overcrowding, health, sanitation, parking and anti-social behaviour which are all possible links to HMOs.
“We will vigorously stand against inappropriate planning permissions in all MBC Wards. We are always concerned with the well being of residents.”
To see more planning applications and other public notices for your area, visit publicnoticeportal.uk
To see this application, visit here.
Use application number 23/505103 to find the relevant planning documents.